Smartphone Shipments Return to Positive Growth in 4Q20, Apple on the top

Smartphone Shipments Return to Positive Growth in 4Q20, Apple on the top

Foto: Dražen Tomić - Tomich Productions

The worldwide smartphone market continued to improve in the holiday quarter of 2020 (4Q20) returning to familiar ground with 4.3% year-over-year growth, according to preliminary data from IDC. Vendors shipped a total of 385.9 million devices during the quarter. While the full year 2020 declined 5.9% compared to 2019, the progress toward market recovery has been impressive and IDC believes the momentum heading into 2021 will remain strong.

"There are a lot of elements at play that are fueling the smartphone market recovery – pent-up demand, continued supply push on 5G, aggressive promotions, and the popularity of low to mid-priced phones," said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "Vendors also seem to be better prepared for the second lockdown, ensuring they have the right channel set up ready to fulfill orders and reach the end consumer. Lockdowns also have people spending less on areas like leisure, travel, and dining out – and smartphones are benefitting from this. In addition to all these factors, the fast recovery and resilience of the smartphone supply chain also has to be given some credit."

In terms of vendors, there was a clear shift among the Top 5. Apple delivered a phenomenal performance in 4Q20, returning to the number 1 position with 90.1 million devices shipped, driven by the success of the iPhone 12 series. This represents the highest shipment volume from a vendor in a single quarter and resulted in 23.4% market share and 22.2% year-over-year growth. Samsung moved to number 2 with 73.9 million device shipments and 19.1% market share. With the continued success of the A series and growth in nearly every region, Samsung saw year-over-year growth of 6.2%.

Xiaomi finished the quarter in the third position with shipments of 43.3 million and 11.2% market share while OPPO was fourth with shipments of 33.8 million and 8.8% market share. Both companies successfully capitalized on declining Huawei shipments, growing 32.0% and 10.7% year over year respectively, by focusing on aggressive product portfolios and building partnerships. Huawei fell to the number 5 spot with shipments of 32.3 million and 8.4% market share. The company continues to suffer under the weight of U.S. sanctions and saw a dramatic year-over-year decline of 42.4%.

In the full year 2020, Samsung held number one spot with 266.7 million devices shipped, capturing 20.6% of the market. Compared with 2019, Korean vendor fell 9.8%. Apple has taken second place with 206.1 million smartphones shipped (15.9% of the market) and grew 7.9% compared with 2019. Hauwei fell to third spot, capturing 14.6% of the market (189.0 million shipments) with the highest decline among top five (21.5%). Xiaomi jumped to fourth place capturing 11.4% of the market (147.8 million shipments) and rose 17.6% compared with 2019. Vivo was fifth with 8.6% market share (111.7 million shipments).

"The recovery of both the smartphone market and its supply chain has been truly impressive and the year-end growth is testament to how far we've come," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "The majority of the world is either in some form of lockdown or still waiting to return to normal day-to-day life, yet smartphone sales are rebounding as though nothing ever happened. This illustrates the importance of smartphones in everyone's life and provides a strong foundation for market demand. As the world progresses towards a post-pandemic environment, IDC believes demand will grow and the market recovery will accelerate."

 

Top 5 Smartphone Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q4 2020 (shipments in millions of units)

Company

2020Q4 Shipment Volumes

2020Q4 Market Share

2019Q4 Shipment Volumes

2019Q4 Market Share

Year-Over-Year Change

Apple

90.1

23.4%

73.8

19.9%

22.2%

Samsung

73.9

19.1%

69.5

18.8%

6.2%

Xiaomi

43.3

11.2%

32.8

8.9%

32.0%

OPPO

33.8

8.8%

30.6

8.3%

10.7%

Huawei

32.3

8.4%

56.2

15.2%

-42.4%

Others

112.4

29.1%

107.1

28.9%

5.0%

Total

385.9

100.0%

369.9

100.0%

4.3%

Source: IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, January 27, 2021

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